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A Critique of Thomas B. Stoddard’s Gay Marriages: Make Them Legal

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Thomas B. Stoddard’s “Gay Marriages: Make Them Legal” is a successfully written argument with some minor flaws in technique. Stoddard uses this article to present his major claim, or central thesis, on the reasons gay marriage should be legalized. He presents his argument using minor claims. In a lecture on February 2, 2005, James McFadden stated a minor claim is the secondary claim in an argument. Stoddard uses minor claims in his discussion of homosexual people being denied their rights by the government and by others who discriminate against them. He also discusses how love and the desire for commitment play a big part in the argument for and against gay marriage.

Stoddard begins his argument successfully with pathos, or
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He is trying to make the reader aware of the privileges and rights denied to homosexual couples. He is hoping his reader will listen when money talks. Stoddard uses another great method of supporting a minor claim by using an authoritative testimony. Stoddard includes a quotation from the Supreme Court, an authority, to make the grounds for his minor claim stronger (Barnet & Bedau, 2005, p. 84). With this support he argues the government should not control gay marriage by giving an example of a court case ruled in favor of interracial marriages. The Supreme Court ruled in this 1967 case that the laws prohibiting interracial marriage were simply being used “to maintain white supremacy” (Stoddard, 1988, p. 552). Through this judgment from an authority, Stoddard is trying to appeal to our need for the law to require equal treatment among all. He wants us to realize that people opposing gay marriage are letting their prejudices get in the way of the law and rights of others.

Stoddard then moves onto his next claim that “marriage creates families and promotes social stability” (Stoddard, 1988, p.552). He successfully builds on this claim by explaining that anyone who has the strong desire to commit in a relationship should be supported because the world is lacking people of this sort (Stoddard, 1988, p. 552). Stoddard uses warrants in support of this minor claim.
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